Of all the senses piqued by Summer, our olfaction feels wholly enlivened by nature’s bloom. Outside, our tolerance for a riot of smells seems forgiving in its elevation; rank and romantic can co-exist in harmony while hiking. Inside, however, our noses need more refinement. As such, we model carefully curating your interior aroma through candles, and one of our favorite brands remains Le Labo. Founded by Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roschi in 2006, Le Labo has become synonymous in urbane circles with soulfully modern scents. After processing the raw ingredients in famed Grasse, France, the pair then hand-manufacture each singular essence stateside; their soy-wax candles are poured-individually in Mississippi and each concrete candle vessel is thrown by Californian artisans. “We make sure the soul of our perfumes is carried by a soulful process across the board,” Penot said in a 2018 interview. He went on to trace the process, which begins with inspiration—which can come in the form of “a woman, a man, a landscape, a tear, a leaf, a look, a silence. Anything, anytime, anywhere.” Then, the perfumiers move into a meticulous and patient experimental phase in the eponymous labo: “The process starts with inspiration, then you go to the lab trying to shape it with a perfumer by a first draft with several ingredients,” Penot said. “It takes a few years of wearing, smelling and various feedback that shape each visit back to the drawing board and tweaking the ingredients. Some of our perfumes required over 400 modifications, while some are less than 50. You’ll never know when the magic will happen.” Penot’s openness to the magic of the process resonates with our design practice; as much as we plan and prepare, soulfulness happens spontaneously, when space and personality align. Drawing further inspiration from the label, we share Le Labo’s manifesto as inspiration for embracing Spring (slash life slash irreverent art) in all its glory.
le labo manifesto
We believe that there are too many bottles of perfume and not enough soulful fragrances
We believe the soul of a fragrance comes from the intention with which it is created and the attention with which it is prepared
We believe fine perfumery must create a shock—the shock of the new, combined with the shock of the intimately familiar
We believe that fine perfumery must be irreverent
We believe it is more humane to test cosmetics on New Yorkers than on animals
We believe celebrities should pay full price
We believe the future of luxury (hence of perfumery) lies in craftsmanship
We believe in the soulful power of thoughtful hands: hand-picked roses, hand-poured candles, hand-formulated perfumes and handshake agreements
We believe in the passionate souls who work close to us
We believe in Hafiz's take on life: "Act great, dear. Always act great"
We believe New York made us this way, with a dose of Wabi-Sabi and a few lines from Thoreau
We believe we/you should put away our modern tools and take the time to smell the roses along the way
We believe that we are only young once, but we can be immature forever
And we believe that explanation kills art. Therefore, forget about all of this!